The main avenue of Havana woke up on Monday with a giant Cuban flag waving along with another multicolored one that represents sexual diversity to mark the International Day against Homophobia and in parallel a new Family Code is being prepared that could approve gay marriage.

Passersby were amazed and took photos or selfies of Calle 23 with its spectacular ocean view. This place was chosen to install the insignia on the front of the Ministry of Health and as part of the days that are carried out in favor of respect for the community.

“I am very excited to pass by 23, La Rampa and find the multicolored flag that represents LGBTI people and right next to our Cuban flag and that the two are waving together,” Julio Vicente Serrano, of 33 years old and owner of a rental house for tourists.

The Cuban Days against Homophobia and Transphobia, which have been held for 14 years, used to feature a “conga” that ran through the streets, series of conferences and panels, as well as cultural events. However, this year, due to the new coronavirus pandemic, the demonstration had to be suspended and the rest of the activities were scheduled – from May 4 to 21 – virtually.

Currently, the island faces an open controversy about the legalization or not of equal marriage, which became clear from 2019 when the public debates of the Constitution in force since that year began.

The original draft of the Magna Carta included the possibility of this type of gay unions, but after citizen discussions in neighborhoods and workplaces, legislators modified the corresponding article indicating that the authorization for same-sex marriages and the scope of they would be a matter for the Family Code to be approved.

The main resistance is led by some Cuban evangelical churches.

Mariela Castro, deputy, director of the Center for Sexual Education (Cenesex) and daughter of former president Raúl Castro and who leads the conference against homophobia, was satisfied with the placement of both flags in front of the Ministry of Health. “All rights for all people are symbolized in those two flags,” he told the AP while taking pictures of the badges.

“Always in anything that is done, there are people who disagree and people who do not like and people who are happy and people who are upset, but it is a very clear message, of consensual political will, explicit that the Communist Party of Cuba, the State and the government are developing a policy in favor of the rights of LGTBI people in our country, ”said Castro.

It is expected that the Family Code will be presented to the National Assembly of People’s Power in July, when the timetable for a referendum will be defined to be considered by the population. Castro is part of the project’s review committee.

The placing of the flags together and the possibility of legalizing same-sex unions was rejected by some people. “God created man a man and drew a woman out of the man’s rib. And he made the man for the woman and the woman for the man, “said 53-year-old pastor Fernando with an annoyed tone. “That marriage is not approved by God, that’s why humanity, the world, is as it is.”

Reverend Moisés de Prada, leader of the Assembly of God, one of the largest Pentecostal institutions, called on his parishioners to send letters to the office of President Miguel Díaz-Canel protesting the new Family Code and in defense of what he called “The original plan of God” or heterosexual unions.

The relationship of the LGTBI community with the authorities went through various moments in its history. In the 60s and 70s, gays were sent to reeducation camps, in the 90s a space of greater tolerance was opened and today they even have labor equality by law and other rights, while reassignment operations are guaranteed for transgender people.

In a recent appearance, Castro showed a survey carried out in 1988 in which only 23% of the Cubans interviewed supported the recognition of LGBTI rights, against the last poll carried out in 2016 and according to which 77% of people between 15 and 74 years were in favor.

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